Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: January 12

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1878 Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnar was born in Budapest. He writes The good fairy, the game is the thing, the guard, the swan, and Liliomthe last of which is adapted by Rodgers and Hammerstein as a musical Carousel.

1914 When a mad professor wants to delete movies, what will happen to queen of cinema? The musical starring Vallie Valli lasts 13 weeks at the Winter Garden.

1932 Leslie Howard plays and co-produces with Gilbert Miller, the animal kingdom. Philippe BarryThe comedy about a man whose wife sapped his vitality runs for 23 lively weeks at the Broadhust Theatre.

1938 For only five performances, the Henry Miller’s Theater is transformed into Tortilla Flat. Jack Kirkland adapted John SteinbeckThe novel of life in a California slum.

1941 Albert Hackett and Peggy Conklin are Mr. and Mrs. North. Frances Lockridge and Richard Lockridge designed the detective couple for The New Yorker magazine; Owen Davis adapted the comedy at the Belasco Theater.

1986 Terrence McNallyit’s a joke, It’s only a gameopens Off-Broadway at Manhattan Drama Club. It features Joanna Gleason, David Garrison, Christine Baranskyand Paul Benoit. In 2014, McNally revised the play for a Broadway production starring Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally.

2011 Frank McGuinnessadaptation of Henrik Ibsen1896 drama Jean-Gabriel Borkmanfeaturing Alan Rickman, Fiona Shawand Lindsay Duncanopens at Brooklyn Academy of Music. Jacques Macdonald directs the production, which premiered at Dublin’s Abbey Theater the previous fall.

2012 Broadway has a fresh take on Catfish Row, with a dramatic new perspective and a bragging cast Norm Lewis and audra mcdonaldwhen Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess opens on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Production, which condenses George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heywardand Dorothee HeywardThe four-hour folk opera in a two-and-a-half-hour staging, won Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Actress in a Musical (Audra McDonald).

2014 Magnificent: Carole King’s Musicalfeaturing Jessie Muller as a Grammy Award-winning musician whose Brooklyn roots would lead to the soundtrack of a generation, opens on Broadway at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. The musical tells the story of King’s rise to stardom as a songwriter and solo artist, and features the hit songs of King and Gerry Goffinand Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill. Mueller won a Tony Award for her performance, and the show went on to Broadway for 2,416 performances.

More birthdays from today: Texas Guinan (1884-1933). Jack McGowan (1894-1977). Tex Ritter (1905-1974). Jose Limon (1908-1972). Patsy Kelly (1910-1981). Louise Rainer (1910-2014). Andre DeShields (born in 1946). Oliver Platt (born in 1960). Simon Russell Beale (born in 1961).

Watch scenes from Broadway Magnificent: The Carole King Musical:

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